International FAQs for COVID-19

What does studying online mean for me as an international student? Will it impact my student visa and CoE?

Selected classes will continue to be delivered online or in hybrid mode to support learning for students who are unable to travel to Australia or have ‘at-risk’ attributes for COVID-19. Please check your LMS site regularly for subject updates.

The Department of Home Affairs has confirmed that studying online during this disruptive time is permitted and should not impact on your visa. La Trobe will maintain your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) provided you are enrolled in either on-campus or off-campus (online) subjects and you are in Australia or located in another country, as long as your course enrolment status remains on campus.

Does studying online impact my student visa and CoE?

We have confirmation from the Department of Home Affairs that studying online during this disruptive time is permitted and should not impact on your visa. La Trobe will maintain your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) provided you are enrolled in either on-campus or off-campus (online) subjects and you are in Australia or located in another country, as long as your course enrolment status remains on campus.

I don’t want to study online. What are my options?

If you prefer to pause your studies, we can assist you. Please contact La Trobe International Student Services for advice on how to proceed. For sponsored students or US Financial Aid students please discuss your situation with the Sponsored Programs Team.

Can I return to my home country to study online?

We understand this is a stressful time and you may prefer to be with your family and community. If you are able to return home and can continue studying online with access to the internet, then you should continue your studies. Please note:

  • any live sessions will be conducted in Australian Eastern Standard time (AEST)
  • you should check with your course and subject coordinators if there are compulsory face-to-face components and what this means if you are not in Australia (students may need to withdraw from that subject and pick up the credit points at a later date)

International students returning to their home country and study online may be prevented from returning to campus for an undefined period , as returning to Australia will be subject to the Australian Government’s travel advice and restrictions. For any visa enquiries, you should contact the Department of Home Affairs.

What if I need more time to complete my course?

If you have to make changes to your enrolment during this time, then please note you will need to catch up and this may require enrolling in Summer or Winter subjects or extending your CoE and visa, and health insurance. Please contact La Trobe International for advice: +61 3 9479 1199 or send us a question.

What if I cannot study a full-time course load?

Not all of your subjects may be able to be studied online at this time. This is called underloading and is permitted under these special circumstances. If an underload is unavoidable, you need to try as much as possible to update your study plan to match your CoE end date. You will need to catch up and this may require enrolling in Summer or Winter subjects or extending your CoE and visa, and health insurance. Please contact La Trobe International for advice: +61 3 9479 1199 or send us a question.

For Teacher Education placements, you are able to continue with your subject and your result may be entered as SAHA (Supplementary Additional Hurdle Assessment) on your transcript until the placement hurdle has been successfully completed.

What if my full-time placement/practicum is cancelled?

If you cannot complete a subject because of COVID-19 Government Health restrictions then you will need to discuss with your subject coordinator what options there might be for you at a later date. Please note this may require enrolling in Summer or Winter subjects or extending your CoE and visa, and health insurance. Please contact La Trobe International for advice: +61 3 9479 1199 or send us a question.

What if none of my subjects are available online?

If none of your subjects are available to study online then you will need to defer if you are a new student or take leave of absence if you are a continuing student. Please contact La Trobe International for advice: +61 3 9479 1199 or send us a question and we will work with you and your course coordinator to identify a new study plan for you.

If I am on Leave of Absence and cannot travel home, am I still covered by OSHC?

If you choose to take Leave of Absence but cannot return to your home country, please contact your health insurance provider for confirmation of your coverage.

Do I need to update StudentOnLine if I leave Australia?

It is a student visa requirement to maintain correct address details in StudentOnline. Your home address is your permanent home, the postal address is where you are during the Semester. This means that if you return home and you are studying online, your postal address should be changed to reflect this.

I would like to meet with someone in the International Office about my situation. How can I arrange this?

The International Student Services Team is taking calls Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm (AEST) on +61 3 9479 1199. We are also happy to make a time to meet you virtually using Zoom technology. Please call us or send us a message and we will get in touch to set it up.

Am I eligible for the student visa application fee waiver?

We’ll provide you with a completed fee waiver form if all of the following apply:

  • you held a student visa on or after 1 February 2020
  • you couldn’t complete your course within your original visa validity due to the impacts of COVID-19
  • you haven’t already applied for a new student visa (you won’t get a refund if you’ve already applied)
  • your student visa expires within the next three months (we encourage you to apply no later than six weeks before your visa expires).

We won’t be able to give you a fee waiver form if the reason you require a new visa:

  • is not related to COVID-19 (including in cases where you took a leave of absence, deferred your course, reduced your study load or failed subjects before semester one 2020), or
  • is because you’ve started a new course due to a course transfer.

To apply for the fee waiver form

  1. Read the information on the Department of Home Affairs’ student visa page.
  2. Submit statement explaining why the impacts of COVID-19 meant you couldn’t complete your course within your original student visa duration when you apply for an updated CoE, by completing the online Application for Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) form.
  3. You will be required to renew your Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) to cover the duration of your new visa when you apply for a CoE. Your receipt of payment is proof of renewal.
  4. You must apply for your new student visa online. For more information refer to student visa (subclass 500).

You can be in or outside Australia when you apply. Please note, visa application fee refunds will not be available for students who have already applied for a Student visa. Decisions on the award of a student visa application fee waiver are made by the Department of Home affairs and not La Trobe University.

Will my scholarship still apply if I go back to my home country?

Yes, if your enrolment is maintained, your scholarship is also retained. If you have taken leave, your scholarship is paused and resumes when you re-enrol.

What if I need more time to pay my fees?

Please discuss your situation with the International Student Services Team.

Can I go back to my home country during any study breaks?

When considering returning home please note the following:

  • Australia’s national border and travel restrictions are managed by the Australian Government and are outside of La Trobe University’s control. There is no guarantee you will be able to re-enter Australia, or Victoria, in time for commencement of your next study period. If you choose to leave Australia, this will be at your own risk.
  • If you are a sponsored student, you will need approval from your sponsor before planning a trip. Failure to do so and being unable to return to study may have ramifications for your sponsorship/scholarship.
  • If you do return home, there may be strict quarantine measures in your home country. You will need to make enquiries and manage accordingly.
  • Should you be able to re-enter Australia in 2021, there may be quarantine requirements on arrival as directed by the Australian authorities. This will be at your own cost. Please check the Australian government Department of Home Affairs website and Australian Department of Health website regularly for updates.
  • If you are unable to return to Australia and wish to continue your studies online we are happy to discuss with you on a case-by-case basis, again noting the situation changes rapidly, and importantly, not all courses and subjects, including placements, labs, or practicums are able to be delivered in an online mode. Please contact Ask La Trobe and we will be happy to discuss what your options might be.

When can I return to Australia for my studies?

It is not possible for the University to confirm a timeframe for this.  Australia’s national border and travel restrictions are managed by the Australian Government and are outside of La Trobe University’s control Please check the Australian government Department of Home Affairs website and Australian Department of Health website regularly for updates. Please ensure you stay up to date with news and announcements via student communications that are sent to your student email address and updated online.

Am I eligible for a refund of OSHC for the period I was studying online offshore?

If you choose to use the University’s preferred OSHC provider, Medibank, you may be able eligible to apply for a refund for the period of cover for when you were studying online outside Australia.

You will be required to show evidence of airline tickets or boarding passes returning home and back to Australia, which cover the dates you were outside of Australia.

If you choose another OSHC provider, you will need to contact that provider to seek advice.